Downtown LA

Man gets back tattoo of graffiti-filled towers in downtown LA

If you look at it closely, the tattoo resembles an infamous tower in downtown LA.

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The abandoned Oceanwide Plaza Development has been an eyesore for some and an art piece for others. For one man, the graffiti-filled towers are now a backpiece.

Miguel Angel Rodriguez liked the graffiti towers so much he wanted to make it permanent. He came up with the idea while hanging out with his tattoo artist.

“We were smoking, I was drinking and my homeboy was like ‘Oh, let me do a backpiece.' I’m all like ‘Oh yeah, I’m down’” said Rodriguez. "And he’s like 'what were you thinking,' the skyscrapers.”

It took tattoo artist Eric Reyna two sessions to finish the back piece on Rodriguez. The artist says it's only the beginning.

“We still got a long ways to go. We still got to add another building right here and I want to add another portrait and on the back of this side we want to do a cop car and something like that,” Reyna said. “I want to say we probably have over 100 hours more to do on his back for sure.”

Rodriguez used to live in downtown LA and watched the towers go up before the project was abandoned.

“I could go on my rooftop and I could see all this, I saw it from nothing to something to nothing,” Rodriguez said.

It didn't take much convincing for Rodiguez to agree to the idea.

“I’m like why not? I’m 45 who is going to tell me anything,” Miguel said. “I just gave him the idea and he went with it. I trust him so much.”

Construction for Oceanwide Plaza on the 1100 block of Flower Street was halted in 2019 when the Chinese developers who had initially planned for condos, a mall and a hotel, ran out of funding. Since work stopped, the uninhibited complex of empty towers became an attraction for graffiti artists and daredevils.

Recently, the Oceanwide Plaza Development was put up for sale so the future of the towers and the graffiti is unknown. But Miguel knows his art is permanent.

“Until I pass away, then after that it’s off the map,” said Rodriguez.

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